Posts

Cicero’ s 5 Canons Of A Great Speech Still Relevant? Try Them To Help Banish Presentation Nerves

Great speechMark Twain once said ‘There are two kinds of speakers in the world:  Those who get nervous and those who are liars..’ And he wouldn’t be far off.  Everyone gets a dose of presentation nerves, some just hide it better than others!   Even the greatest orator in history Marcus Tullius Cicero once ran from the forum where he was set to speak because he was terrified with nerves.  

 

TED coaches, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, even presidents get nervous.  But the trick is to look and sound cool, calm, and collected even when you’re not feeling the love.  

 

Cicero knew that you have to “fake it ‘till you make it”, but it’s actually more than that; it’s fake it until you become it.  Unless you’re soaked in sweat and physically unable to speak, audiences don’t know what you don’t tell them.  

 

The ancient Romans and Greeks invented this kind of thinking; they called the art of oratory actio as in ‘acting’.  A speaker is an actor, and the best actors are the ones who are most truthful, convincing, and authentic on stage.

 

These ancient orators also knew about nerves and that they can be an important part of pumping up your energy before you go on, and, if managed properly, you can channel that energy to give your performance passion, charisma, and memorability.

 

People won’t be able to take their eyes off you and they may not even know why.  Here’s Cicero’s 5 Cannons and how they can help you knock it out of the park even when you’re feeling like you can’t even suit up to bat.

 

The 5 Canons

Cicero, that great orator, came up with five aspects of giving a great speech or ‘Canons’.  There’s no substitute to combat presentation nerves than being well prepared and he was the king of relentless preparation and practice, as he was taught by his Greek tutors.

 

Cicero’s canons are thus:

Invention, Style, Memory, Arrangement, Delivery.

 

1. Invention:  The Hook

This is the nugget of what you want to say.  It’s the distilled essence of what your speech or presentation is all about and why people should listen.  

It’s usually around 40 words or less and about 12 seconds, roughly the length of a human breath, and it is one sentence.  But that’s it!  

Brevity is beauty.  Keep it simple and keep it short and audiences will love you for it.

 

2. Arrangement:  Road Map The Journey Of A Presentation

Before you open PowerPoint, sit down and map out your story. Every speech or presentation is a story that has a beginning, middle, and end, and once you’ve got that clear, it’s time to open PowerPoint and see what you need to support and illustrate your message that will add colour, texture, and memorability.  

Story first, PowerPoint after. This will ensure you are clear in your journey and will help you avoid using PowerPoint as a report or crutch.

 

3. Style:  Channel Your Inner Obama

Everybody has their own style and in order to develop that style, watch as many people as you can give presentations and speeches.  What are they doing well? Using pace, pause, pitch, volume?

Observe what they’re doing that works and, equally importantly, what doesn’t.  Steal from the best and leave the rest.  As you practice and video yourself, you’ll begin to discover and develop your own style.

No two speakers are the same so don’t worry about being like someone else.  Remember, it’s about being the best YOU, not becoming someone else.

Great sources are Youtube, TEDtalks, and people at your own company or place of work.

 

 

4. Memory:  Build Your Palace! It Helps Reduce Presentation Nerves

Presentation nerves are often brought on by that fear of forgetting. Mnemonics is the learning of techniques to aid in human memory.  A mnemonic device could be an acronym or image that helps you to associate information and recall it more efficiently.

 The Roman orators often used the image of a palace or great house with many rooms where they attributed sections of their speeches to different rooms in order to remember the information better.  

 

5. Delivery:  Bring It On, Superman

After you do your warm up (and everybody does something), the last thing you do is stand with your feet wide apart and hands on hips a la Superman/Wonder Woman and smile (master of all your survey)

It will help banish those presentation nerves and give you a sense of expansion, positivity, and being grounded.  

Then, picture your audience and send out a thought of generosity, ‘I love you guys!’ and make it all about them, not you.  

So take it from the guys who started it all and use the five canons and take heed of Cicero;

‘Whatever you do, do it with all your might.’

 

It’s all there for the taking so practice, practice, practice and give it your best shot.  The worst thing that can happen is you try and fail, so try and fail again, and then try again.

 

 As Samuel Beckett said;

‘Ever tried. Ever failed.  No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’

 

“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

You might also like these…

Executive presentation skills

Communicate with Credibility & Confidence with our Vocal Presence Open Programme

Would you like to be able to communicate with credibility and confidence? Imagine instantly improving any presentation or speech. Our Vocal Presence Programme is designed to help you do just that. Read on for more.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Imagine yourself instantly improving any pExecutive presentation skills - How to communicate with credibilityresentation or speech, simply by you controlling your voice deliberately and then imagine consciously using your voice as an effective communication tool is a skill.

With time and experience, we have developed an Open Vocal Presence Programme to address key challenges faced by executives.

Is This For Me?

Do you feel your voice and manner of speaking is holding you back?

Is your normal style of speech too fast, too garbled or too monotone to carry effectively?

Do you struggle to hold audience attention when you present?

Do you have an accent that others find difficult to understand?

Do you find yourself being asked to repeat what you just said frequently?

Do you wish to work on these skills away from your colleagues but in a group environment?

If you have answered yes to any of those questions, then this is definitely for you.

What Can I Expect?

Using time-honoured techniques from the performing arts and honed for the business executive, we can transform your credibility and confidence.

Using tools such as video and audio recordings, our vocal experts coach you in using all these techniques to gain the results you want.

You will learn to understand what makes a confident and engaging voice, and what you need to change in your own style in order to achieve this.

What Does The Vocal Presence Open Programme Cover?

The Open Programme includes all of the following:

  • Understanding how to use your voice to its full potential, with work on posture, breath and tension release and resonance
  • When and how to use your voice strategically for emphasis, through work on volume, pitch range and inflection
  • Understanding and learn to build emotional connection with your listeners
  • Pace and Timing – keep them on the edge of their seats! and instill credibility
  • “The Power of the Pause” to ensure your audience hears your message—clearly!
  • How to sound instantly more credible with work on articulation

How Does It Work?

  • Intensive one-day event
  • Small number of participants (6/7 max) to allow for practical application
  • Receive professional feedback on your current style from a vocal expert

How to Apply?

Because we just accept a small number of attendees, so contact us now to ensure your place, this event always fill up super fast.

Click this link for more details on the Confident Speak Vocal Presence Open Programme

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

presentation nerves

4 Ways To Harness Presentation Nerves And Make Them Work To Your Advantage

presentation nervesThere is endless advice available on how to overcome presentation nerves.

For many people fear of speaking in public ranks higher than fear of spiders or even death.

The problem – according to Jeremy Jamieson, psychology professor at the University of Rochester – is that we tend to think all nerves and stress is bad.

“Before speaking in public, people often interpret stress sensations, like butterflies in the stomach, as a warning that something bad is about to happen”.

Jamieson goes on to say “But those feelings just mean that our body is preparing to address a demanding situation, The body is marshalling resources, pumping more blood to our major muscle groups and delivering more oxygen to our brains.”

How our body reacts to social stress is exactly the same ‘flight or fight’ response it produces in response to actual physical danger.

The good news is that we can actually use these responses to help us perform. So if presentation nerves raise their head here are some ways to use it to your advantage

 

Get Your Preparation In Early

Don’t wait until a few days before your talk to get started. Allow those presentation nerves spur you into action and seize the earliest opportunity to prepare

Know Your Content

Presentation nerves are more likely to kick in if you are not fully confident in out content. Make sure you thoroughly understand your topic. Understand the stats, what they mean, what call to action they suggest .

Practice Your Delivery

Rehearse your talk out loud as often as you can and record it. Then you can both see and hear how you come across and make any changes necessary.

Prepare Your Answers

Being put on the spot can be a nerve wrecking experience. Make a list of likely questions you’ll receive, and prepare your answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question don’t be afraid to say something like ‘I’ll need to get back to you on that’

Remember that even the most consummate and experienced performers experience performance nerves, so don’t let them cripple you. Instead let them keep you sharp!

 

“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of  corporate/private voice, executive presence and presenting programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

You might also enjoy these…

 

 https://www.confidentspeak.com/first-impressions-5-ways-to-grab-your-audience-before-you-say-a-word/

 

https://www.confidentspeak.com/imagine-understanding-the-simple-art-of-persuasion-3-skills-ancient-rhetoric-can-teach-us/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fear of presenting

Most People’s Number One Fear is Public Speaking. (Number Two is Death.)

When it comes to public speaking many of us tend to focus on external factors.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

Jerry Seinfeld, the famous New York comedian, perhaps summed this up best.

He said:

At a funeral, the average person would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy.”

When it comes to public speaking many of us tend to focus on the ‘outside’: How am I coming across?  How do I look?  Do the audience like me?  What’s in it for me? A big part of effective presenting is actually an ‘inside’ job.

Great public speakers care about what they are saying, care about the audience and connecting with them, and remember that we’re all human beings craving a common connection.

Seinfeld even gets a mention in this article by comedian/therapist Jonathan Decker. It’s not all about technique and analytics!  Check it out here…

http://www.suindependent.com/news/id_7755/Your-Friendly-Neighborhood-Therapist:-How-to-be-a-fearless-public-speaker.html

Maria Tecce

maria@confidentspeak.com

 

 

improving the sound of your own voice

Improving the Sound of your Own Voice: Quick Tips for Success

We have all known someone whose voice drives us crazy, yet so many of us are clueless that our own voices are making a bad impression. Here are a few quick tips to analyse the sound of your own voice, and give it every chance of being the best it can be.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

improving the sound of your own voice

When it comes to our own voices the truth is this.

We don’t hear our own voice as others hear it!

The voice travels through the bones of the head before reaching the speaker’s ears, which changes the way it sounds.

Many voice problems can be eased through coaching including exercises to support the voice through improved breathing, or to strengthen laryngeal muscles.

Like many voice coaches we often receive requests for voice coaching where an employer raises the issue as a problem for co-workers or customers.

One of our common and proven effective practices is to use audio recordings to give clients more awareness of how they sound.

On top of that, we teach vocal exercises designed to support the voice through improved posture and breathing.

A little vocal awareness and some good habits can make a big difference!

Some quick ways to improve the sound of your own voice

  • Learn to warm up and rest your voice before and after intense use, such as teaching or coaching.
  • Record your voice on your phone and listen to how you actually sound.
  • Ask a friend or co-worker to signal to you discreetly if you lapse into bad habits such as using ‘um’ or ‘you know.’
  • Increase your fluid intake and avoid frequent throat-clearing to keep the vocal cords healthy.
  • Ask a voice coach for breathing and vocal exercises to make your voice more resonant and relaxed (feel free to contact us here)
  • Have your hearing checked if your voice is too loud.
  • For persistent problems such as vocal fatigue or hoarseness see a voice coach or specialist.

And now sit back, close your eyes and listen to this as an example of a speaking voice we can all aspire to…

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Read More

pace in public speaking

Presentation Tips: Why Pace of Delivery Is So Important

Here I discuss the importance of pace in public speaking, and outline one great exercise to allow you to get your pace of delivery just right.

By Olivia MacDonnell, Confident Speak

pace in public speaking

Every day when I’m working with clients on the art of great presence and communication, or studying the world’s greatest communicators and speakers on just what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.

Pace in public speaking is one thing that’s so important to great presentation and communication.

I have to admit when I initially talk about the appropriate pace of delivery, people tend to get confused.

So here’s a fun way I found to give you an idea of your pace in public speaking:

Before we start let’s be clear.

  • Pace is the speed at which we speak.  It can be expressed in Words per Minute (WPM)
  • Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180-200 WPM
  • 200 WPM is way too fast for presenting information
  • So you should aim to speak at no more than 120-150 WPM

Presentation Tips: Pace of Delivery and the Word Per Minute Exercise

Set the timer on your phone and read the following 148 word passage at your natural rate and time yourself!

A good speech is one that is memorable. A good speech is usually not too long. One of the greatest virtues a speaker can possess is brevity. This begs the question: how does one go about constructing and delivering an address to an audience?

There are some basic principles that should be observed.

Firstly, never speak on a subject about which you know nothing or are in anyway unsure.

Secondly, do not be tempted to give an impromptu speech until you are very experienced.

And thirdly, try not to make too many points.

Finally, remember rehearsal is also extremely important. Many top speakers spend hours practising their delivery and this is time well spent. Paying particular attention to the voice is good advice because if you are not accustomed to speaking in public, then you will need to establish how to project and produce your voice effectively.

So, how did you do?

Remember, this is just a bit of fun.

Your pace will always vary, and will be dictated by your level of engagement and commitment and feeling towards your message.

This 148-word passage should take between 60 and 75 seconds to speak at a presentation pace of 120-150 WPM.

So if your delivery here was outside that recommended band, then it would be a good idea to practise this a couple more times and make the necessary changes. It could be a game-changer in the way you’re speaking to your audience—whether that’s the rest of your team at work, a boardroom of managers or directors, a few potential clients for a pitch presentation or even a packed auditorium.

Good luck!

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

 

Breath and Good Posture

Why Breathing Into Your Chest Is Not Good for Public Speaking Posture

There is so much advice about public speaking out there, and when I see some I disagree with I just have to speak out! In this instance, a recent article which advised that breathing into your chest will help you have good public speaking posture—advice that I fundamentally disagree with. I outline why below.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Why Chest Breathing is Not Good for Public Speaking Posture

I was reading an article in a fashion magazine recently, and a fashion “expert” was discussing good posture.  The main advice related to breathing into your chest, encouraging you to “breathe into your chest and this will encourage good posture”.

Anyone who has worked with our team at ConfidentSpeak on voice coaching or presentation training will know immediately that this is not what we would recommend!

Focusing your breathing into your chest is simply poor practice and it will cause problems elsewhere, especially when it comes to creating a solid public speaking posture.

Three Reasons Breathing Into Your Chest is Poor Practice for Public Speaking Posture

  1. It creates upper body tension – which we don’t want, as this has a negative effect on our posture
  2. It affects the quality and sound of your voice – in terms of volume, resonance, pitch and so much more – don’t get me started!
  3. By breathing into the chest we hinder the natural breathing mechanism – remember the lungs, rib cage, diaphragm and abdominal region all play a part in correct breathing.

You can see that if by any chance you’re nervous or stressed before a presentation, interview or meeting, breathing into the chest certainly won’t help.

So What Can You Do to Improve Your Public Speaking Posture?

Firstly, don’t follow the “advice” in this magazine!

The best practice, tried and tested throughout our programmes, is to do this simple exercise taken from the Alexander Technique.

The Alexander Technique is a way of learning how you can get rid of harmful tension in your body. It is a technique for your body and posture to make your body work efficiently.

The Exercise

  1. For a moment focus on your shoulder blades. (Not your shoulders. Your shoulder blades are positioned either side of your spine. You should be able to touch them with your hands).
  2. Simply think about your two shoulder blades ever so slightly moving to meet your spine. The movement is very tiny. This will open the chest, gently draw the shoulders back without creating any tension, improving your posture instantly—without hindering your breathing.

Have a listen to this Body Learning podcast interview with Robert Rickover, a noted teacher of the Alexander Technique, to gain a better understanding about this method of learning to redirect your own mind and body to use it more effectively.

Good luck.

And good posture!

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

(Main picture above via Nine Köpfer/Unsplash)

Public Speaking Skills: How to Connect with Any Audience

Public Speaking Skills: The Art of Connecting with Any Audience (From Start to Finish)

When you’re thinking about the public speaking skills you need to succeed, it pays to think first and foremost about your audience. Here are seven things every audience needs to keep them hanging on your every word.

By Olivia MacDonnell, Confident Speak

Public Speaking Skills: How to Connect with Any AudienceWhen speakers are building their public speaking skills and making all the necessary preparations and arrangements for their talk, there is one thing that often happens—they might spend hours of prep on a single slide, but neglect to really prepare to serve their audience!

So if there’s one vital piece of advice to give for you in any environment where you’re talking in front of an audience—from sales presentations to staff meetings to a keynote address to a packed auditorium—make sure to take note of the following seven tips to better serve your audience.

Start thinking about your poor audience – they are busy too! and they’ve given up their time to listen to you!  This is what they need:

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 1: A Reason to Listen

An audience will not listen to you unless they know why they should – it’s as simple as that!

So, you need to make it very clear from the start why your presentation is important to them.

What’s the benefit?

What are the consequences?

They need to know WIIFM—the “what’s in it for me?” question.

Fail to take note, and you might not have an audience at all.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 2: Life Made Really Easy for Them

When you’re doing your talk prep, make sure to structure you message simply and clearly.

If you’re inexperienced find out about basic structuring for a presentation.

I always this it’s useful to think of “the audience” as friends.

And the truth is, subconsciously no audience wants to work hard. They don’t want to wade through complex slides trying to figure out what exactly they need to do. Structure things as simply and clearly as you can to make life really easy for any audience.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 3: Simple and User-Friendly Language

Stop using jargon and complex language—immediately!

There’s a misconception about complex language. Some people think it makes them sound more intelligent.

But the truth is it doesn’t. Jargon and complexity is much more likely to bore, alienate and frustrate your listener.

So avoid that at all costs and use a conversational style with matching language.

Believe me—it’s no less professional. In fact, it’s much more professional!

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 4: A Relevant Message

I suggest every point you make ask yourself this question.

Why would this be remotely relevant to the listener?

If you think it is or should be relevant to them, then ask yourself a second question:

How am I making this relevant and understandable to them?

Every point you make needs to be in “audience context”.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 5: A Memorable Message

If they feel they are being talked to, as opposed to talked at, they are more likely to remember your message.

Using “I”, “we” and “our” involves the audience as if they are on the journey also, and if we are involved, suddenly things become much more memorable.

Using personal experiences, personal stories and memorable examples is a good start

There are plenty more approaches, but do avoid making stuff up.

It can be very obvious and can sound false to the audience.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 6: To Feel That You Really Believe Your Message

If your voice lacks energy and emotion, your audience will tune out.

So ask yourself, what emotion do you want your audience to feel?

Interest? Excitement? Curiosity?

Whatever it is, you then need to convey this emotion in your voice.

It sounds like an obvious presentation skill, but just thinking about what you are saying and how you would like the audience to feel it very powerful.

So many presenters just present like they are “going through the motions”.

An audience needs and expects more.

Honing Public Speaking Skills through Audience Connection, 7: You Staying Connected From Start to Finish

There is no point having a great, memorable first 45 seconds and then revert to a complex, irrelevant message for the remainder of your presentation.

A great colleague of mine uses the analogy of a “travelator” (those flat moving stairs you see in airports) when giving a presentation.

The audience needs to step on the “travelator” at the beginning with you and move with you through your presentation and gets off the end with you.

They need to walk away from your presentation knowing what they should do, think and feel as a result of listening to your entire presentation.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

(Main picture by Krists Luhaers on Unsplash)

 

pitch range voice musical instrument

Why Pitch Range is Vital to Public Speaking and Presentation Success

When it comes to public speaking and presenting, you need to think about your “pitch range”—the range of notes you give to your voice to keep your audience engaged, interested and motivated. Here’s a brief pitch range overview.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

pitch range voice musical instrumentImagine this.

You’ve just arrived at a musical concert.   You wait to be entertained by the musician.

The pianist arrives on stage and starts to play.

But he starts playing by using only two notes – C D!

You wonder what’s going on, you’re definitely disappointed and then, as the performance continues in the same vein, you become completely frustrated and you tune out entirely.

Now switch the focus from music to speaking.

The same principle applies.

If you want to engage an audience when you speak, you need to think of your voice as an instrument and you need to use your range of notes (pitch range) to connect with your audience.

If you don’t, you will simply bore the pants off our listener!

Using pitch range is necessary to get the audience to sit up and listen.

So firstly, how do we hear the pitch range (notes) in our voice?

Simply, start at your lowest note and just like a scale of a piano, hum gently and slowly up your vocal scale – the notes should be getting higher and higher! give it a go.   This is easier to explain by doing than writing!

How do you use your pitch range – how do you make your voice an instrument?

I always think it’s useful to firstly think about the meaning of your message.  What do you want the audience to think about and feel?

Once you decide on this, the emotion in your voice (be it interest, positivity etc.) will follow.

Pitch variety will follow once you are really thinking about, and connected to your message.

Two ways to vary pitch

  1. Going from low pitch to high pitch when stating contrasts.
  2. Build up your pitch in steps to build momentum.

Things to remember about sustained pitch

A sustained period of high pitch:

  1. Can put people on edge
  2. Can motivate your audience
  3. Can indicate sarcasm
  4. Can indicate light heartedness

A sustained period of lower pitch:

  1. Can be soothing
  2. Can indicate seriousness
  3. Can be boring!

What are you aiming for? Be sure to know what’s possible when you decide on your pitch and pitch variation for your talk.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Other Blogs You Might Like

Master The Three Arts of Vocal Communication

How to Master the Three Arts of Vocal Communication

If you’re keen to make an impression in front of any audience—from staff presentation to business pitch to a keynote speech in front of a packed auditorium—there are three distinctive arts you can master to perfect your vocal communication skills in any situation.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Master The Three Arts of Vocal Communication

Vocal Communication Art, 1: The Art Of Pause

The space between our thoughts can be a powerful as the thoughts themselves. We can hold a listener’s attention by creating powerful silences. It’s something we are not comfortable with. Using pause strategically creates impact and clarity.

Here’s how:

  1. Pause before the word gets your listeners attention and prepares them for what is coming next
  2. Pause after the word this gives the idea time to sink it

Vocal Communication Art, 2: The Art of Vocal Contrast

The ability to communicate with confidence often depends on contrast in your vocal delivery. When we speak we do not pronounce each and every syllable with the same weight and time. There are 1,2,3 words in each phrase that absolutely reduce it down to its basic meaning.

These words are our KEY, POWER words.

There needs to be contrast between these words and the others so the audience hears and connects with them.

Here’s how:

  1. Change of volume on key power words
  2. Pitch Variation on key words
  3. Articulation of certain consonants in these key words
  4. Change of pace – speeding up or slowing down
  5. Pause before or after key power words

Vocal Communication Art, 3: The Art Of Pacing Yourself

Most people speak too quickly. If you speak too quickly you risk the audience “tuning out” as they simply cannot keep up with you.

Pace is the speed at which we speak. It can be expressed in Words Per Minute. Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180 – 200 wpm. 200 wpm is too fast for presenting information. You should aim to speak at 120 – 150 wpm.

Here’s how:

  1. Focus on the clarity of your words
  2. Allow yourself to pause and breathe correctly

Quick recap

To channel our inner Cilla Black—oh, don’t say you don’t remember Blind Date!—here’s a quick recap of the three key skills to master to attain perfect vocal communication skills.

  1. The Art of Pause
  2. The Art of Vocal Contrast
  3. The Art of Pacing

Good luck mastering these great communication skills.

I’d love to hear from you when you put them into action!

Olivia

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives.

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

(Main picture credit: Edwin Andrade on Unsplash)